The Architectural Legacy of Alfred Giles
An illustrated guide to the best restorations of a famed South Texas architect
The Architectural Legacy of Alfred Giles focuses on architect Alfred Giles’s work in Texas and northern Mexico. Giles, who practiced from the 1870s to the 1920s after emigrating from England, designed buildings reflecting a great variety of styles derived from architectural forms of the past, combining them in original ways.
Giles produced designs for unpretentious domestic residences and showy mansions, county courthouses, and commercial and institutional structures all over Texas. He adapted and combined stylistic elements with restraint, sobriety, and simplicity.
In San Antonio, in what is now the King William Historic District, Giles designed residences for Edward Steves and Carl Wilhelm August Groos, and in other areas of the city he has many houses to his credit. On the campus of the University of the Incarnate Word, he designed the motherhouse of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word; in Fredericksburg, the old Gillespie County Courthouse; in Bandera, the old Bandera County Jail; in Floresville, the Wilson County Courthouse; and in Laredo, the Webb County Courthouse. As a response to decreasing commissions in Texas, Giles maintained a branch office in Monterrey, Mexico, during the first decade of the twentieth century. Buildings in Monterrey, Saltillo, Durango, Puebla, and Chihuahua attest to his firm’s success. Notable extant structures in Monterrey are Banco Mercantil, La Reinera, and Arco de la Independencia.
In The Architectural Legacy of Alfred Giles, Mary Carolyn Hollers George highlights the Giles buildings in Texas that have been heroically restored in the last thirty years, many as a result of the leadership of the San Antonio Conservation Society, the Texas Historical Commission, and various advocacy groups. An appendix details Giles’s accomplishments in northern Mexico. Color photographs of the restored sites, taken by architect Eugene George, complement black-and-white historical photographs.
- Winner of Foreword Magazine's Gold Award (home & garden)